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Sep 30, 2021
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FHCM launches eco-design tool to assess environmental impact at Paris Fashion Week

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Sep 30, 2021

Paris Fashion Week was officially inaugurated on Tuesday with a press conference held in both physical and digital mode at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, organised by the French Haute Couture and Fashion Federation (FHCM) to illustrate its initiatives in support of emerging labels via the Sphere programme.

The press conference was also the occasion for Pascal Morand, FHCM’s executive president, to highlight the various projects deployed by the French organisation in parallel with the fashion week. Notably, the launch of an eco-design software that measures the fashion week’s environmental and CSR impact, something Morand described as a “world first.”

Pascal Morand speaking at the press conference - DR

The latter project kicked off in September 2019, and has been implemented with the support of Defi (France’s Committee for the Development and Promotion of Apparel) in partnership with multinational consulting firm PwC, and is addressed to labels that are FHCM members. The project’s software tool was developed during 2020 and tested earlier this year with the participation of virtually all the labels featured on the Paris Fashion Week calendar, and will be utilised for the first time during the event's current edition. “This is a very interesting tool, because the event sector's impact in terms of CSR is something that is rarely discussed. Now we will have a global overview, from the CO2 [emissions] aspect to everything connected with circularity,” said Morand.

The software takes into account some 120 key brand performance indicators, involving all stakeholders: fashion labels, production agencies, media and communication agencies, modelling agencies, the main venues hosting fashion week events and even institutional bodies. The indicators relate to 12 domains linked to catwalk show organisation, from transportation to stage setting, logistics, catering, accommodations, promotion and more.

Labels and production agencies are invited to fill in a questionnaire covering every aspect of their fashion week operations, and the new software immediately calculates their environmental impact, providing an overall perspective of their shows’ effects. It is up to the labels to tweak their organisation if possible. Afterwards, they will only be able to confirm their information, which is gathered anonymously by FHCM.

The results of this first analysis will be published in November, and FHCM said it is willing to “share this tool with [other] fashion weeks that may be interested.” The goal is to encourage all Paris Fashion Week participants to be open to improvements, trying to diminish their environmental and social impact season by season. In 2022, the economic impact of catwalk shows will also be considered.

With regards to emerging designers, Morand emphasised that FHCM is committed to supporting them via the Sphere showroom programme, operated by Defi with the backing of a number of partners, among them L’Oréal Paris. “In total, we are following 80 promising labels, 60 of them very actively. They are all French,” said Morand, who also announced a new initiative. For the first time, FHCM has set up a fund to help foreign labels that are showing in Paris, and until now were unable to access French financial aid. “The logic behind this is one of boosting Paris Fashion Week's appeal by fostering a strong participation by international labels,” said Morand.

Morand revealed that FHCM’s support fund for emerging labels raised €500,000. The money has been distributed to federation-backed labels not as cash endowments but based on the projects they put forward, while at the same time FHCM is providing mentoring on commercial, logistical and business issues.

This season, Paris Fashion Week is hosting 97 labels, the same number as in 2019, with 37 catwalk shows and 40 presentations, 80% of them staged in physical format. The whole event is also being streamed online, with the support of Tencent, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Canal+, CNN, Asahi Shimbun and Kommersant, with two dedicated initiatives on TikTok and Instagram.

“We are fully in the 21st century. Digital formats are no longer a complement to in-person events, it is the latter that integrate digital formats,” said Morand, underlining that the FHCM website “continues with its development.”

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